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      08-12-2013, 10:00 AM   #1
dotmit
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325i Misfire

Hi,

I have a 2009 325i with the 3 litre engine.

Last week BMW service had to tow it away and delivered it to Park Lane BMW, because it started misfiring and the yellow check engine light came on.

Now they are telling me they need to de-sulphurise it and it will cost 164 for them to do it, and they are blaming the way I drive. I've put 8000 miles on my car since buying it in November 2012, a lot of which has been town driving but also at least 3000 of which has been on the motorway (done a couple of road trips etc).

So I have a couple of questions.

1. Is this normal? BMW are blaming the way I drive for the misfire, but this is not the first BMW I've ever owned and I never had this problem before.
2. What else could it be?

At the moment they have me over a barrel because they are saying it's the catalytic converter and charging me for their fix, but it might not actually fix it. And they are also saying if I go and take the car away it will invalidate the warranty because I am driving it knowing there is a problem.

So it seems like I just have to pay up.

Now, I like the car a lot, and have always liked BMW, but it seems like I am just getting constantly raped by Park Lane BMW. The car was only in a week ago for another issue they didn't fix, and they told me they ran a diagnostic and everything was fine. It only drove 100 miles between then and the breakdown.

Any advice appreciated...

Also in case anyone says I should search the forum first, I ran several searches but didn't find anything about this other than some generic misfiring guides and mostly stuff that's USA-centric.

Cheers

Mit
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      08-12-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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never heard/read of de-sulphurise! and Ive done a fair bit of searching for misfires.

325i misfires are usually all about coilpacks or the selonoids, which you may now already know.

but Im thinking that surely if its under warranty, there's nothing to pay? Its under warranty. Or get it moved to another dealership that might actually want to help you.
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      08-12-2013, 10:34 AM   #3
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Ask them specifically what fault codes showed up on diagnosis. Like dobbo, I've never heard of de-sulphurising! Much more likely to be a coil or injector fault.
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      08-12-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
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Mit

Which site is your car at? Nine Elms or Battersea?
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      08-12-2013, 11:48 AM   #5
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Because this engine runs in two modes, the stratisfied running (lean-burn) creates Nitrous-oxide which is stored in an additional catalyser in the exhaust system. Under normal driving this will become saturated and then the engine will run in normal (homogenous) mode and burn the NOx cat clear again. It is a cyclic process and so long as the car is not used for short runs and town driving all the time it should be fine.

This cat can however become blocked (sulphurised) depending on driving style and also in the event of another engine problem. If they become bad enough and attempts to de-sulphurise fail then a new cat may be the only option. Hopefully yours will clear ok
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      08-12-2013, 01:16 PM   #6
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Having used Stewarts road (Battersea) before, I know the guys in the workshop are genuine and know their stuff.

Which one are you using?
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      08-14-2013, 05:41 AM   #7
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My car is at Stewarts Road (Battersea).

The problem is it's not the first time I've been fobbed off like this, they've been quite patronising with me every time I've had to take my car there (which has been far more often than it needs to be). It still has a weird problem where sometimes the passenger window doesn't go fully back up when you close the roof, even though it *always* works perfectly when using the button on either the driver or passenger door. That's not a warranty job either apparently, and they will charge me for investigating it, so I have to just live with it. But last week they told me it was fixed, but it wasn't.

I asked them to refurb my wheels and they gave it to a third party company who did a really sloppy job. You could see the paint runs and they pulled off the balancing weights but didn't even clean up the sticky stuff, they just sprayed right over it. At first they fobbed me off telling me it's impossible to get a good finish on a refurb. Eventually after getting the manager involved, them attempting another refurb and also messing it up, and in the process spilling a fizzy drink all over the inside of my car and handing it back to me like that, they refunded me. But I had to kick up a big fuss.

Another time they told me in response to me saying my windows make a clackety noise when I go over bumps, that I shouldn't drive fast over bumps. So am I driving too fast over bumps or driving too slowly for the catalytic converter to work properly? It still makes that noise, like the 2 windows are bashing together. Apparently this isn't warranty either (even though it only happens on the driver side), because it's an adjustment and not a problem with the car (which I bought approved-used from them).

They updated me today. Apparently they had to replace the catalytic converter, and it was covered by warranty after all.

But I still have zero confidence in them.

The Motorrad guys are a complete contrast though. I only have to walk into the little bike office next door and the guys there are completely sound and really nice, and they look after my S1000RR (which I also bought from them) really well.

Last edited by dotmit; 08-14-2013 at 05:48 AM.
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      08-14-2013, 05:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDNMaster View Post
Because this engine runs in two modes, the stratisfied running (lean-burn) creates Nitrous-oxide which is stored in an additional catalyser in the exhaust system. Under normal driving this will become saturated and then the engine will run in normal (homogenous) mode and burn the NOx cat clear again. It is a cyclic process and so long as the car is not used for short runs and town driving all the time it should be fine.

This cat can however become blocked (sulphurised) depending on driving style and also in the event of another engine problem. If they become bad enough and attempts to de-sulphurise fail then a new cat may be the only option. Hopefully yours will clear ok
Hmm, that's handy information

Is there any way to disable lean burn mode? I don't mind using a little bit more petrol if the long term effect saves me 3k on a new catalytic converter next time it happens...
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      08-14-2013, 07:24 AM   #9
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It can't be disabled but if the car is now running well then you shouldn't get any further issues with a new cat fitted as well.

Are you pleased it has been resolved without any cost though? I think sometimes the more technical issues with cars can be harder for front desk staff to explain when the workshop are working on the fix.
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      08-14-2013, 08:16 AM   #10
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I'm pleased it's been resolved but haven't yet picked up the car.

It's not a case of front desk staff not being able to explain technical issues either. It's a case of them telling me I have to pay for a diagnostic before they have even looked at the issue, despite me giving them clear explanations that are obviously a fault to the average lay person on the street.

Let me give you an example conversation.

On the phone first, booking it in:
Me: About 3 times in 4, when I fold my roof back up, the passenger window only goes half way up, then drops by an inch, but when I use the button on the door, regardless of whether the roof is up or down, it goes all the way as it should.
Them: OK sir, we can book you in on xxx day to have a look at it.
Me: Great, see you then!

When I get there for said appointment:
Me: About 3 times in 4, when I fold my roof back up, the passenger window only goes half way up, then drops by an inch, but when I use the button on the door, regardless of whether the roof is up or down, it goes all the way as it should.
Them: That's not a fault. That's just a configuration issue. You have to pay for that.
Me: It is a fault. My E46 never behaved this way. Nobody else I know who has a convertible car behaves in this way, and it never did it before. How could it suddenly have started doing it if it was a configuration issue?
Them: Well we can diagnose it but you will have to pay us.
Me: But this is surely a warranty problem. The window doesn't work properly.
Them: You have an insured warranty which doesn't cover this. Your car had a 3 year manufacturer warranty which would have covered it if the previous owner had complained but your warranty doesn't.
Me: But I bought the car from you and the window doesn't work properly. I only bought it in November.
Them: We can't look at it unless you authorise us to diagnose it and pay for our labour.
Me: Why couldn't you tell me this over the phone?
Them: Our telephone staff just book appointments.
Me: Surely then, you should have more technical staff?

Now... seriously!? The dealer is telling me that the window not closing properly isn't covered by warranty and that it's a configuration issue on the car, and I have to pay for that?

This was then followed up with them proudly announcing that they fixed the problem. When I asked them what it was, they said they couldn't find anything on a diagnostic and that it just worked.

Yet the next time I tried it, wahay! Window still not working properly.

What am I supposed to do with that kind of behaviour?

At the moment I am not feeling much joy from BMW. And this is the 8th BMW car I've owned over a period of 18 years or so (plus my motorbike, also BMW). It's not like I'm new to the brand or anything.

When I call up my independent garage, they don't treat me like this. They already have an idea what the problem might be when I call them, tell me to bring the car in and that's it. I just leave it with them until it's done. No diagnostic charge. No patronising behaviour on their part, and no waiting on hold.

Joy is not BMW for me. Not anymore anyway
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      08-14-2013, 09:56 AM   #11
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Now I remember why I use a reliable indy...
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      08-14-2013, 05:54 PM   #12
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Just to update...

They replaced the catalytic converter under warranty. The car drives beautifully again, better than at any point since I've had it. Furthermore, the faint clicking noise it had been making since I took delivery (and which I asked them about last time it was in, but they told me was normal) is now gone. So it wasn't normal, it was a symptom of the failing catalytic converter.

I had a good long chat with the after sales manager who is a good guy, and also the service guy who was dealing with my car, and all is well once more.

Not sure if I can say the joy is back yet but they did make a good step in the right direction...
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      08-15-2013, 07:58 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotmit View Post
Just to update...

They replaced the catalytic converter under warranty. The car drives beautifully again, better than at any point since I've had it. Furthermore, the faint clicking noise it had been making since I took delivery (and which I asked them about last time it was in, but they told me was normal) is now gone. So it wasn't normal, it was a symptom of the failing catalytic converter.

I had a good long chat with the after sales manager who is a good guy, and also the service guy who was dealing with my car, and all is well once more.

Not sure if I can say the joy is back yet but they did make a good step in the right direction...

Glad to hear you're sorted.

I've been on this forum for years now, and Battersea has always had good reviews on here.
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